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Borderlands Identities and Borderlands Ideologies in Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop

Keywords: United States , America , Mexico , New Mexico , border , borderlands , culture , literature , Willa Carther

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Abstract:

The New Mexican territory, an area added to the United States by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) and the Gadsden Purchase (1853) following the U.S.-Mexico War, was largely Mexican and Amerindian in population, customs, and beliefs in the second half of the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, it witnessed a growing influx of Anglo U.S.-American settlers and their culture, especially after the American Civil War of 1861–1865. Narrating the story of the first Catholic archbishop of New Mexico and his vicar general, Willa Cather’s historical novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop (1927) provides a complex portrayal of the Mexican, Amerindian, Anglo-American, and European cultures in the U.S.-Mexico border region from the 1850s through the 1880s.

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